I wonder who I would even be if I hadn't answered that Craigslist ad back in 2006. The one with the puppy.
The puppy that came from a mall pet store, then given away for free, then sold to me for a quick buck most likely. The puppy with so much energy that I had to take him running, to the dog park, and eventually to work at the doggie daycare to tire him out.
He met some awesome buddies at the dog park and we started taking weekend dog-ventures to places like Thousand Acres (Sandy River Delta) and the big off-leash parks in Vancouver.
All of this time spent outside was really changing me and I didn't realize it. When I made a quick decision to move to Philadelphia in 2008 I regretted it immediately upon arrival. I didn't want more concrete in my life, I wanted more nature, more open space. It took me six months to arrange a return to the PNW but in that time I bought a new digital camera and took many trips to visit my parents in my hometown in Connecticut.
I took Jake for walks to my old elementary school where we had walked our dog when I was a kid and he swam at the beach where I learned to swim. I also started taking pictures of birds.
The road trip back to Portland in 2009 was a blast with my car crammed with my stuff, Jake, and my friend Sunni. We took the long way through the southwest with visits to Cadillac Ranch, White Sands, the Grand Canyon, Lake Mead, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
Back in Portland it was back to dog-ventures, the doggie daycare, and eventually more solo adventures.
By the end of the year I was full blown obsessed with taking pictures of birds and had started this blog. All because my little buddy made me go outside.
A year later I adopted Ralph and for the next 9 years we went on tons more birding adventures. There was a road trip through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Another to Montana and Wyoming. Trips to Malheur, southern Oregon, Summer Lake, Sisters, Mount Hood, eastern Washington, Coos Bay, Long Beach, and more.
Madera Canyon, AZ
McCully Creek, Oregon (staring at a Spruce Grouse family)
Catalina State Park, AZ
Roswell, New Mexico
Beartooth Pass, Wyoming
Sometimes I wonder what his life list would be. I know he has seen Spruce Grouse and Short-eared Owl, Dark-eyed Junco and Mountain Quail, American Dipper and Mallard. He was attached to me for so many of my own lifers but I doubt he saw the Painted Redstart, the Northern Hawk Owl, the King Eider. or the Pyrrhuloxia. He probably saw the Abert's Towhee, the Black-crowned Night-Heron, the Emperor Goose, and the Scaled Quail. I'm sure he missed the Gyrfalcon, the Great Gray Owl, the Yellow-billed Loon and the Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet.
But he was there for all of them. He made me go outside and fall in love with nature and birds and adventure. He never ran away when he was off-leash, he never got in a real fight, and he never held a grudge. He loved every single person he ever met and never forgot them. His one fear was sea lions and once he made out with a cow.
He was the complete opposite of me and the best buddy I have ever had.
Such a life well lived! And an incredibly lucky mutt. ❤️ReplyDelete
I think he had a pretty good time!Delete
Awww, what a beautiful tribute to a wonderful friend. Thanks for sharing and so sorry for your loss.ReplyDelete
- Teresa & Miles
Thanks for your kind words, it was a hard post to write.Delete
Dear pup. I’m so sorry, Jen. I only knew him in his later years and he was a cool dog then. It’s good to read how much of you he was responsible for creating, and all the great memories you made together. ❤️ReplyDelete
Thanks, Jane. We crammed a lot of fun into 14 years.Delete
Jen, we follow your footsteps in birding and enjoy your blog very much. Friday we lost our 15 year old Buster Brown. Your tribute to Jake is extraordinary. I’m so glad that he found you.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the kind words, Jeanette. I'm sorry for your loss, it's not easy.Delete
Jen I was crying before I ever got to the end...IM SO SORRY, I wish I had met him I do feel like I know him in a way...It's the best part of living sharing with a best buddy Like Jake. Since losing Casey I've been completely in the dumps it's just so very, so sorry my friend please take care.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Sondra. I know you just went through this with Casey, that sweet boy. It's not easy but it's definitely worth it.Delete
I know platitudes don’t make a difference, but I’m so, so sorry, Jen. Sending you love.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Chezy, I know were/are going through something similar and I appreciate the kind words.Delete
Aw sorry FJ I had no idea! I think I had forgotten that he was the one who pushed you to be outside and start looking at stuff. I like the alien portrait the best.ReplyDelete
Yeah, basically everything was his fault.Delete
I’m so sorry for your loss, Jen. You enriched each other’s lives.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the kind words!Delete
So much love, and love is never wasted. Sympathies for your sorrow, joy for your memories.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear. My Huck was in my arms when he departed this world in late June, he is out running with his pals that went before him somewhere , I am sure. I have dreams of finding him well and healthy, so real that I can feel his fur in my hands. I figure over his 15 years, 13 with me, we went over 3000 miles of hiking Oregon. Huck had Red-legged Kittiwake on his list. Miss him much.ReplyDelete
Bob, I'm so sorry to hear about Huck. I am sure his life list is pretty impressive!Delete
I only just saw this post Jen and I'm sorry to hear this news. It looks like you had some great adventures together ♡ReplyDelete